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Zocalo: How Norway Taught Me to Balance My Hyphenated-Americanness

By Eric Dregni
Zocalo

Dregni_Cod coverDuring the year I spent studying at the university in Trondheim, Norway, I sometimes learned more about my own country than Norway. One day, in my immigration studies class, my professor David Mauk, who hailed from Ohio, asked, “What does it mean to be American?”

I braced myself to hear the usual stereotypes from the news from the Norwegian students in my class. Then the professor clarified, “What to you is truly good about America?”

Even though I’m an American, I was stumped. I mentioned the clichés of “liberty,” “melting pot,” “representative government.”

My Norwegian classmate Astrid was much more awake: “What about your Constitution?”

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